Thursday, July 30, 2009

Something Lovely For My Craft Closet...

I was reading Country Living the other day and these beautiful millinery flowers caught my eye. If you remember from my earlier posts that I'm a sucker for flower hair pieces so I had to look up the source. Low and behold I found my new favorite store (apparently it's Martha's too....) the Tinsel Trading Company. First off you have to read their About Us because I'm also a sucker for a good family story...

Then you have to peruse all their amazing eclectic mix of vintage and new crafting stuff. They have a whole category dedicated to Fringe! At the moment I'm not in the market for guinea fowl feather fringe (I already have a bag of individual guinea feathers that I'm trying to find a use for), but I really wish I was....

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Something Fun for My Table...

Here's the promised Cowboy Themed napkin set. Even better yet, as you can see in the bottom corner... I found a fabric pattern of a Hoe Down! It probably make me way too happy... And while you may look at this and think that I missed the mark, imagine them all on a long wood table (preferably of reclaimed barn planks like my Dad makes) with bright white plates and some sort of fun napking ring like a bow made from leather (preferably fake leather of course). The beauty isn't in all of them stacked together but how they will work together spread out over a table! (Have I pleaded my case enough so that you like it too?)

(Left to Right)

First I Rant Then I Rave...

I'm home sick, bleh. Could it be that it's raining and 65 degrees in the middle of JULY? Or that the Ear, Nose and Throat doctor shot decongestant up my nose yesterday just to tell me that I have a severely deviated septum and that's why I have never breathed through my nose? I did not need to pay $25 to find that out and the decongestant spray has made me feel like I'm underwater ever since.

Now the rave... I had a fabulous wedding shower last weekend which resulted in many wonderful things. First, two of my favorite ladies gave me "Visions in White" by Nora Roberts (one is a big Nora fan). It set me off into dream land about the wedding planning company I keep planning on starting (before I realize that my current event planning job prevents it due to scheduling) but it was a lovely dream land.

Second, I was reminded of the rockin' ladies I have in my life that would give up a gorgeous Saturday afternoon to celebrate with me. Including one incredible chica who drove from Syracuse to Connecticut for a 3 hour shower and then back to Syracuse all in one day. Not to mention my girls from NYC who came up the night before to thoroughly make this a "bridal weekend".

Third, my sister made a beautiful video of photos of A. and I throughout our lives that was absolutely perfect and unexpected.

Fourth, A. and I were literally showered with amazing gifts. For the record, I like to think that we are fairly immaterial people, which sounds kind of funny since most of this blog is things I like and want to own, but that aside. We very much go with the idea of your "presence is the best present" especially with our wedding. Nobody has the cash in this economic climate to shell out for gifts and we love nothing more than to spend time with our faves. Ok, now that that's out of the way... the gifts were super cool!

The shower had a baking theme since I do love to bake and everyone brought baking/kitchen items and recipes. Love it! I have new fabulous pots and pans, and baking supplies, and cake decorating supplies, and aprons, and a new 1930's mini cookbook about Jello (I do love my 30s cookbooks and plan to excerpt soon).

I was completely inspired to start "creating" things again. Baking, cooking, interior designing, card making, letter pressing, you name it. I want to do it... right now. Part of my love for the creating is the conceptualize stage, that excitement before you actually bring it into reality. I'm neck deep in wedding crafting, but it's all been planned for so long I'm looking forward to non-wedding crafting in the future.

My next post will be photo happy I promise!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Something Lovely for My Table...

I've love the look of a mix matched dining table. There's definitely a time and place for refined elegance or true simplicity, but I appreciate a table set with some whimsy and fun. Enter my Napkin Collections. My Napkin Collections don't exactly exist yet due to (a) lack of time, (b) lack of funds, (c) lack of convincing A. that having a napkin with a Cowboy motif is necessary (sometimes it just is).

But someday it will be a reality. I want to have a huge pile of napkins made from random, fabulous fabric. So random that you can dress your table with endless combinations of napkins to fit any type of soiree. For example, when I invite my ladies over for some cupcakes and tea-- who am I kidding? Cupcakes and champagne-- I will serve it wearing the apron mentioned here and set the table with these fantastic napkins. In case you can't tell, the bottom left has frogs on it which I find wonderful. Chances are I will be serving aforementioned champagne out of my multi-colored Depression Glassware tea cups. ... Because I feel like it.

(Top Row L- R)
1. Drawing Room Sketchbook from ReproDepot $14.95/yd (see what I mean about not having the moolah for this project?)
2. Michael Miller Ginger Blossom Vintage Dots Breeze $8.98/yd
3. Sweet Mod Floral in butter at Repot Depot $8.50/yd
4. Yellow Frog Prince at purl soho $18.00/yd
5. Vintage Cherries, Spring at tonic living $8.95/yd
6. Vintage Stripe Blush at tonic living $8.95

Up next... more Napkin Collection fun, including the promised Cowboy motif!

Thursday, June 11, 2009


I'm sorry for not blogging in just about forever. When I got Welshie's comment requesting my return, I couldn't believe I hadn't blogged since the end of April! Shame on me... In my defense life has been ridiculously crazy, as I'm sure it has for everyone. I worked every day from May 11th to June 4th. Partially in Chicago, partially in CT and partially in White Plains, NY. Most days had me coming home around between 9 and midnight, if not working overnight. Plus working on wedding plans (holy cow 114 days!?!?!?!) and getting ready for my friends wedding last weekend.

Okay, that was a pretty good "woe is me, I have no time to do fun things anymore" rant. But things should be calming down somewhat now. I'm off to Anaheim next week so hopefully I'll have time to catch up. I'm flying out on my birthday (booo) so I think I'll have to buy myself an airline cocktail. Though, truth be told, I fly so much I have coupons galore for free cocktails.

Now with my rant and my promise to be better complete, I will spend my lunch hour looking for something fun to post about!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Something Lovely For My Yard

I love this weather!! Love, love, love it. It's hot but not with the humid and bugs that summer brings. More than anything it makes me want an Outdoor Living Area or at least windows that do more than open 5 inches!

Inspired by the weather I started scouring Country Living's website for this article in last month's issue. (A note on Country Living: My mom gave me a subscription for Christmas and I was very hesitant about it, but it's turned out to be fantastic! There's always 4 or 5 articles that I love.) There was a fabulous OLA space created from an old green-house. It may be a little more Indoor than a true Outdoor Living Area, but that just expands it's possibilities for other seasons! Run electricity out there and it would be easy enough to hook up a space heater for chilly nights or imagine curling up with a book during a rainstorm!!!

I'd make a couple of changes if it was mine of course. I'd have to nix the flowery shabby chic. Shabby Chic works well for this space but floral prints aren't really my thing. The chandeliers would DEFINITELY stay though! I'd also make the window walls so that they could all open up. like restaurants that open up to sidewalks. As always the couch would really need to be a pull out or a futon for all the naps I plan on taking and I would include a flip top table in the corner for impromptu fun: dinner parties, board games, puzzles, and the like!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Something Lovely... that I do NOT need!!!! (Part II)

On the other side of the spectrum is the absolutely beautiful fun baking supplies from Bake It Pretty (again the name says it all!). The site is divided into: bake, decorate, packaging and celebrate. I'm not sure what else you could really want to make gorgeous baked goods!!
1.Fluted Flower Cups. Love, love, love these. When I make cupcakes I spend a decent amount of time deciding the flavors, the filling, the colors and the decorations that it seems like a cop-out to put them in the traditional pastel wrappers you get from the grocery store. Bake It Pretty has so many gorgeous wrappers that it would be hard to choose from!
2.Magic Forest Cookie Cutter Set. You have to enjoy a cookie cutter set that involves a Gnome, Mushroom and Squirrel. Bake It Pretty has such a nice selection of Squirrel inspired baking supplies that I had to keep myself from posting all of them (I must be on a squirrel kick today!). But luckily, you can still see the goods here: lollipop mold, nut bags, and mini chocolate molds. (Someday I will share the story of the mentally disabled squirrel that my siblings and I befriended. Ever have a squirrel take a nap in the hood of your sweatshirt? It's weird).
3. Eat Me Tags. These are just fantastic. They also have "drink me" cards, all inspired by "Alice In Wonderland". Once I get my Gocco I hope to be whipping up some tags of my own!
4. Animal Cracker Chocolate Mold. I love this idea! Who doesn't love Animal Crackers? Just remember that this is for chocolate, not for baking. I once started making Peanut-Butter-Chocolate-Cookie candies in my mini chocolate molds before I remembered I couldn't bake the plastic mold!

Something Lovely... that I do NOT need!!!!

I thought today I would post on some absolutely fantastic baking sites that I've found recently. Some of them are fun in the sense that everything is so pretty and would make my sub-par baking seem fabulous. Some are fun in the sense that I want all of the tools so that I can use them once and then look at them lovingly in my random kitchen tool drawer...
First up: Doesn't get much more straightforward than that!
1. Matfer Lattice Dough Cutter. One look at that beautiful lattice crust and I was sold. This is a necessity for the 2, maybe 3, pies I make a year!
2. Matfer Adjustable Dough Cutter. Once again I will need this for making lattice strips for those times that I don't want to use the above mentioned cutter. OR I can use it to cut my ravioli and tortellini. Granted I only make these 2 or 3 times a year too, but spending $122 must be well worth saving the time to cut out individual squares!
3. Culinary Templates for Pastry. I know that you're thinking that this looks bizarre and pointless. I thought so too until I saw what they were doing with it here. Now I'm not sure how I ever had a dinner party without it!
4. Buche. I think this is so freakin awesome. Every Christmas in High School I elected to make a Yule Log for French class using a recipe from Mademoiselle. Every year this seemed like a great idea until I spent an hour wrestling a thin sheet of chocolate cake into a log shape. The recipe is still stuffed in my Joy of Cooking if anyone wants it!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Something Lovely For Somewhere...

One of our projects at work is trying to turn a conference room in a gorgeous old hotel in New York City into a more modern, hip meeting/museum space. Enter MOLO. This stuff is awesome, even if it doesn't have any practical uses in my personal life (as of yet). The structures (softwall, softblock and soft lighting) are a honeycomb of kraft paper or non-woven textiles that can be expanded to form whatever you like. We are using the walls to make an organic, free form white backdrop for colorblaze LED lights which should have an awesome effect.

I'd love to try out the soft seating (photo below) especially since the textile version is approved for indoor and outdoor use. It looks like they fold up pretty small, so if you had the storage space (and the bank to buy a bunch of them), wouldn't these be awesome to pull out for a summer party? Comfy, round lounges set up under trees for your guests relaxation?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Something Lovely For My Table...

I usually try to stay away from the Anthropologie website, if only because I'll love everything on there and be able to afford nothing! But, in trying to kill some time this morning (I'm back in Vegas and still waking up really early like I was back home) I allowed myself a sneak peek. And I am in LOVE with these serving dishes!!! I can't figure out how to post a photo of them so here are the links: Inside Out Serving Bowl, Fern, Atom Art Serving Bowl Green, and Inside Out Serving Bowl Daisy. Even better, they really aren't that expensive at $24.00 each! A. and I chose to go with really simple table settings (currently rocking grey Ikea plates and have registered for white Crate and Barrel plates) so that we could decorate the table other ways: linens, placemats.... and now I'm thinking Serving Bowls!!

And while I've given in to the Anthropologie temptation... I am a total sucker for their retro looking aprons like this fantastic Stockholm Floral Apron. Yellow, Blue or Green? Yes please! How could you not be inspired to whip up baking delights if you were wearing this beauty?

What are you favorite Anthropologie finds?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Something Lovely For My Craft Room...

After I invested time and money in my failed Lettepress contraption (which I still haven't given up on) I found all sorts of testimonials online saying "Thank god I didn't go with letterpress, Gocco is so much better!". Gocco? What was this magical word? It's a tabletop screen printer/rubber stamp made by the Japanese company Riso. You can print on anything including paper, glass, wood, tin and fabric (swoon!). Apparently they are REALLY REALLY hard to find, so if anyone has a lead on one please let me know! Though I did promise myself I wouldn't buy one until after the wedding. I really do not need another project right now!

But how does it work, you ask? Check out this fabulous video at It reminds me of videos that you used to watch at school when you were in Elementary School. I love how proud she is after her first print!

Here are some Flickr photos that really show the amazingness of this machine!1. Little Birds Gocco print, 2. gocco notes, 3. True Love -- Gocco Printed Moleskine Cahier Notebook, 4. Gocco Xmas coloured cards, 5. Gocco print on kraft paper, 6. Trees - Gocco Card , 7. Gocco as appears in Moo, 8. New Poppy Gocco Print, 9. 66 Motel Gocco Screenprint

Elizabeth Anne Designs Blog also features some drop dead gorgeous, drool worthy, make-you-rethink-your-invitation beautiful invitations and wedding related Gocco projects here and here.

Another thing to add to my dream craft room!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Something Lovely for a Wedding...

I saw this Save the Date and gasped out loud (which was really awkward because I was at work and there were a bunch of coworkers around). The combination of letterpress, silhouette, a hot air balloon and an old-fashioned romantic couple is fantastic. Click the link to the original site because the envelope and return sticker are just as cute. Makes me wish that I could go back to the drawing board (and that I had talent even close to this!)

Found via Oh So Beautiful Paper. Originally posted at The Scribbles Vermont (which you should check out because they have a ridiculous fun online shop!)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Something Lovely to Light the Way...

This past Friday marked the 6 month countdown to our wedding so I spent the weekend doing fun wedding related activities including picking up my gown, meeting with the rental company and working on my invitations!

Meeting with the Rental Company was far too much fun. I got to play with linens, candles and centerpieces for nearly 3 hours! I love talking wedding decor with other people who are in to wedding decor. She also reminded me that I should look into luminaries to line the porch, the steps and the patio for the cocktail hour and reception. For budgetary reasons these will probably be the classic white lunch bag with kitty litter and votives, but I want to do something different with the design. Wedding bells and hearts aren't really my and A.'s style but pieces of lace or damask could be elegant and graphic enough for the job.

Here are some beauties I found. In my dream world I would use the hanging candles in the bottom right photo EVERYWHERE!!!:Feinedenge
Martha Stewart
DC Nearly Weds
Martha Stewart

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Outdoor Living

Last week I was telling A the changes I was going to make to our Outdoor Living Area. It's true, until we move out of our apartment this OLA does not exist, but it's important I keep fine-tuning my vision so that when we do get that house I can make my dream a reality!

After looking at me like I was a crazy person for a few seconds, A asked me where this obsession with an OLA came from. It took me a little while to realize that it stems from my love of porches and disappointment that not all houses have one. When A and I first looked at houses online a few years ago I was quick to dismiss them if they didn't have a Front Porch. About a year into our relationship we were taking a walk around Saratoga and he said "I finally understand why you need a front porch, every house in Saratoga has one". Only then did I realize that not every town was filled with houses featuring front porches and that I might have to alter my expectations some. So in the wake of this devestating observation came my dream of an OLA.

Still, if I had the choice it would be a nice big front porch. I love the front porch on my Mom's house where I grew up. It's always served as a place to watch the world unfold from the comfort of my home. When I was 4 I sat on my front porch and watched the new girl that moved in across the street play on her front porch - she later came over to my porch, asked me to go see Roger Rabbit with her and became one of my best friends. As kids my siblings and I watched the tourists come in every summer by reading their license plates from the safety of the front porch. The porch was a perfect place to watch thunderstorms at night and read the paper during summer mornings, sprawled out in the sun with the comics around me. Sitting out on the porch also made it easy to strike up a conversation with neighbors as they left their house or walked their dog. You can always count on a friendly wave from someone driving by if you're sitting on a porch.

There was even a wonderful summer when I was on "sabbatical" (aka, I was taking time off from working to figure out what I was doing with my life) and spent every day on the porch. I had the rare occasion to watch baby Robins hatch. I saw Mama Robin built the nest, I found the eggs the day after she laid them, and I watched her sit on them for weeks. I was there when the first one hatched (Mama Robin made a screeching sound that pierced my eardrums) and even more amazingly, I was there when the first one flew the nest. You need a porch to get that experience (and a lot of time to do nothing)!

So now that I've waxed poetic about my love for, and memories of, porches, here's some wonderful Saratoga porches to feast your eyes upon. I'm particularly partial to the Top Right photo of Union Gables Bed & Breakfast because A and I will married on that porch this October!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Greetings from Las Vegas Airport...

I'm getting really bad at this. I need to make an April 1st resolution to update my blog 3 times a week (if I make it on April 1st does it mean I can consider it a joke and break it?). Please forgive me any grammatical errors (or any that are more than usual), any incoherent sentences (again more than usual), any bad jokes (again...) and clearly an excessive use of parentheses. I am currently sitting in the Las Vegas airport waiting for my flight that takes off 3 hours from now (I've already killed an hour) so I can take the Red Eye home. Normally, this wouldn't be an issue but I tried very hard to stay on East Coast time for this trip and so I feel like it's midnight, not 9pm. My flight leaves at 11:50pmPST, which means 2:50amEST. Anyone who knows me knows that when I'm tired I just crash... so let's hope that I don't fall asleep and miss my flight!

I wanted to share this fabulous blog with all of you called Operation NICE. Melissa, the blogger fabulouso (yeah I make up words in foreign languages when I'm exhausted), believes that kindness can change the world and documents nice things all around her. What a freakin great idea. Who doesn't need to be reminded that we should focus on all the good things that happen? And with that... here are nice things that happened to me this trip...

- The flight attendant went out of her way to tell me she liked my outfit (now only if I could remember what I wearing so I could pull it off again!) on my flight out here.
- The check-in attendant at the airport let me check my bags early (like 4 hours early) so I didn't have to hang around with them.
- The Audio Visual Technician gave me a par can light free of charge on the show floor (unless you are familiar with tradeshows you probably don't understand the magnitude... but this is a REALLY nice thing to do!).
- My client left me a very nice phone call after the first day of the tradeshow was over to thank me. Ever notice how being thanked for the simplest thing (like doing your job) makes you feel so good?

I'm sure people did many more nice things that I was too busy to notice. So I'm going to try very hard to be aware of those who do nice things and try to do more nice things in return.

Trying hard to stay awake for the next 3 hours... Please let me know of any nice stories you have to share!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Something Lovely for the Warmer Months...

In case you haven't yet picked up on it, I'm in love with the idea of an "Outdoor Living Area". My ideal OLA would be where the living room (or kitchen or bedroom) open up into a beautiful flagstone veranda lined with lush foliage, oversized chairs, benches, cushions and the like for lounging, and a mismatched iron table for brunches and late night dinners and of course there would be a chandelier hanging over head (probably from a perfectly positioned 100 year old tree). You wouldn't know where the house ended and the OLA started... it would be heaven.

This works very well and is very plausible if you fulfill the following criteria:
1. It doesn't snow between the months of October and May (I live in New England, it does).
2. You do not have any mosquitos, black flies, gnats or any other undesirable arthropods. (We do. My quest to bring my OLA inside my apartment with potted plants led to an infestation of gnats).
3. You have plenty of room for OLA. (Currently I live in an apartment with windows that barely open... yet still the gnats found their way in).
4. You can curl up with a book and not realize the day has passed, you have friends who have no problem lounging around eating brunch for hours and those same friends can transition easily into rousing board/card games in the afternoon. (Finally this I have!)

So my dreams for an OLA will remain dreams until we find the perfect house (and I'll just have to make do with the climate!)

In the meantime, here are some OLAs to drool over (all from
What would your dream outdoor living area be like?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Something Lovely to Read...

During my busy tradeshow season I spend a lot of time reading in airports, planes and hotels. I usually pack 3-4 books with me depending on the trip. I've read a couple good ones this year that I figured I'd share. I'm not great at writing about books, so forgive me if my entries or thoughts sound weak!

Also, let me know if you have any good suggestions. I'm an avid stalker and in desperate need of some new reads!

1. Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner
I actually started this one in December and had a hard time getting into it. My mom said it was one of her favorite, so maybe I need to read it again all at once instead of in bits and pieces.

2. The Stranger by Albert Camus
This was a fun one to read. I (unknowingly) got an edition that was translated into American English instead of British English from French. The story line is simple enough that it was fun to read into the different nuances of the phrases and see how they could have been spun differently in a different translation.

3. American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
Definitely a fun and easy book to read. I had never really thought about what a person's life must be like if they are married to a politician but have no desire to be there. It's based loosely on Laura Bush, so I wonder how much of it is even remotely true!

4. Eva Luna by Isabelle Allende
I love love love her books and this one was no exception! That's all I have to say about that...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Something Lovely For My Eyes (Sunday Edition)...

Photos from the week that made me happy! The quote is hard to read but it says "Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life." - Omar Khayyam.

Enjoy your Sunday!
1. Happiness is a warm puppy, 2. communal, 3. quote of the week, 4. for my sister...

Friday, March 20, 2009

So Sorry...

I've been slacking yet again! It's awful when work is so busy that you can't even blog during your lunch break!

I hope everyone had a wonderful week and enjoyed the first day of Spring (unless of course you were in NYC and then you had snow)!! My boss kindly let us out at 3:30p and I spent a fabulous afternoon shopping around at Craft stores with a friend.

I was hoping that by today I would have a wonderful letterpress and letterpress invitations to show you. At the end of January I got this idea that I was going to letterpress my own wedding invitations and found these instructions online. It took a couple of weeks, but we actually made it and I remembered to take very specific photos the entire time! We bought the ink, the plates with our invitation info and invitation paper. I was all set and had dreams of the fabulous invitations I was about to print..... and the press broke. The 2x4s on top split the moment I put any amount of pressure on the bottom plate. I tried some other options, but it kept cracking (along with dreams of my letterpress invitations!).

So if you want to give it a go, I'll send over the photos. But most unfortunately don't have anything pretty to show you! However it is Friday so enjoy this adorable Spring Cupcake!

1. aaron and angels wedding cake, spring cupcakes!

PS- I want to give a special "Rock On!" to my little bro Sammy (11 years old) who is in his first school talent show jamming to his own medley on the bass! (He doesn't read this, but I want everyone to know how awesome he is!)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Awesome Signs of the Week

During my first trip to Vegas I made the mistake of telling my cab driver that it was my first time there. Well to clarify, she asked if it was my first time and I made the mistake of saying yes. The trip to my hotel (that was off the strip and easily accessible without even hitting Las Vegas Blvd) took three times as long, cost 4 times as much, but most fantastically took me right down the strip. I was awe-struck. I felt like I was on an huuuuge Cruise Ship or Movie Set!

We all know how I love bright, funky signs so this was like paradise. There were lights and signs everywhere. Some casinos were a little more "refined" and chose to advertise their property through extravagant buildings, statues, fountain displays. I'd count Mandalay Bay, Caesars Palace and Bellagio among those. Then there are the old school casinos that go for the bright, gaudy, absolutely fabulous signs: The Riviera, the Flamingo, and The Sahara among others. These are the signs that rely on lightbulbs and colors and the flash of Vegas from the 1940s and 50s (though not all the signs date from then). Love, love, love those.

So on my second trip to Vegas, I watched from my hotel as they took down the old Barbary Coast sign. They were fantastic 5' tall light bulb studded letters and I started wondering if it was possible to finagle the "R" to take home (it could look very cool in the corner of my apartment. Look at the photos below and you can see the letters in all their glory). When I gave up on that dream I started to wonder where all these signs went. It would be so sad if they were scrapped and that little part of tacky history was gone.

But luckily it's not so! Yes they are left to rot and disintegrate, but they get to do it all together at the Neon Boneyard. I'm hoping to go there during my next visit in a couple of weeks (I will actually have time to do touristy things!), because this place looks fantastic. They have used it as a backdrop for a lot of print ads as well as Wedding Photography (which would be awesome)!

1. Neon Sign Boneyard Las Vegas, 2. Neon Sign Boneyard Las Vegas, 3. Neon Sign Boneyard Las Vegas, 4. Neon Sign Boneyard Las Vegas, 5. Neon Sign Boneyard Las Vegas, 6. Neon Sign Boneyard Las Vegas

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Greetings from Windy Las Vegas...

Sorry I've been so delinquent in posts. Last week ended very busy and then I had to fly out to Vegas for work on Sunday. Ever since then... I've been working or sleeping (jet lag is a pain). Hopefully I'll have some time to post something fun and pretty this afternoon.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Something Lovely For My Eyes III...

The third installment in my favorite Flickr photographer series. Today is from *Cinnamon who has a gorgeous range of subjects from the seaside fence to the fantastic city balloons (I love balloons and photos of balloons)!1. The rest is shadows. The rest is secret., 2. In between, 3. To all, 4. Flickr celebrates 4 in the city, 5. a balloon affair, 6. heaven-ish, 7. she read every word, 8. The grounds at Point Montara Lighthouse

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Something Lovely For My Stuff...

It took me a little while to blog about this, in part because I've been trying to remember how I did it. This was another project form that Lazy President's Day Afternoon I had and because of that I forgot to take photos after I was halfway through and nothing was done with any sort of template. Welcome to my random way of crafting!
Step 1: You will need two fabrics: (1) for the outside (I suggest a heavy weight home decor type material) and (1) for the inside (mine is a lightweight cotton print). How much you will need of each depends on how big your bag is, how many pockets you have, etc.

Step 2: Figure out how big you want your shoulder bag to be. Mine needed to carry a laptop case, at least two notebooks (one for work, one that I carry for an ideas I have), a binder (again for work), and a variety of pens, markers, keys, wallets, phone, blackberry, internet stick, etc. I like to have a lot of stuff with me when I travel for whatever comes up so in a nutshell it had to be BIG! Yours may not need to be so big. Try measuring some of your favorite bags for their size.

Step 3: Place the two layers on top of each other wrong sides (non-printed sides) together. Cut from this a rectangle that will be the base of the bag. I believe mine was 13" long and 6" wide (again, I need to keep better notes!). Fold the pieces (still wrong-sides together) in half and then in half again. Cut the corners so that they are rounded (how round you want your bag to be is up to you). You can sort-of-kind-of see in the first picture how I rounded mine (the smaller pieces)

Step 4: Using a flexible tape measure (dressmakers measure) measure the circumference of your bag. Cut that number in half and add 2 inches to it. Again put your the wrong sides of your fabrics together and fold in half (you know have a stack of four layers of fabric- 2 of the outside and 2 of the inside). You want the width of the fabric to be at least that number you came up with and the length to be how high you want your bag to be + 1". So using my example above, let's say that my circumference was 38" and I want my bag to be 12" high. I want to make sure that that the piece of fabric is 21" (38" divided by 2 plus 2") and the height is 13". These extra 2" and 1" are for the seam allowance.

Step 5: Cut out your rectangle (21" x 13") from the four layers of fabric. These are the sides of your bag.

Step 6: Take the rectangles of the outside layer of fabric and pin wrong sides together. Sew the 13" side together with a .5" seam allowance (Photo 2). Do this with the other side as well (you now have a column of fabric). Press the seam open with your iron (Photo 3).

Step 7. Stitch the pressed fabric 1/4" to each side of the side seams (Photo 4).

Step 8: Pin the bottom piece of the outside fabric to the sides (Photo 5 and 6). Stitch this together with the sides making sure to ease around the curves. Clip the fabric at the corner of the curves to just before the thread.

Step 9: Now I forgot to keep taking photos. if you want to put an outside pocket on now is the time to do so. I cut two matching rectangles of fabric from an outside and inside layer (about 5" x 8"). Sew the wrong sides together all the way around except for 2" at the end. Pull the fabric through the hole so the right side is out. Press the rectangle so it lies flat. Measure the center of a side wall and sew the pocket on. I like the paisley print showing out so I didn't fold the sides under.

Step 10: Do the same with the Inside fabric including the pocket (or multiple pockets) if you like. I put my inside pocket on the opposite side of the bag as the outside

Step 11: Now here's the part I wish I had a photo for because it took me forever to figure out. Turn both "bags" of the inside and outside fabric inside out (wrong side facing out). Pin the openings of the bags together so the right sides of the edge of the opening are together and the selvage (thready part of the fabric) are sticking out. Now sew around the outside edge leaving 2" open.

Step 12: Pull the fabric through the opening so that it's rightside out. Handstitch the opening shut and push the Inside fabric into the bag. You're almost there!

Step 13: Now it's time to make the straps. First you have to determine how long you want the straps to be off the bag. Again, I suggest you measure a bag you like from the top of the bag over to where it meets the bag again. Make sure that you take into account how large your pocket is because the straps will fall on either side of it.

Here's a little formula: (2 x length of the strap) + (4 x the finished height of your bag) + (2 x the width of the bottom of your bag) + 4". The 4" covers the seam allowance and also because my straps came up a little short.

Step 14: Cut 1 strap from each fabric the length that you've determined up there and 4" wide. Wrong sides together pin and stitch 1/2" from the edge all the way around leaving a 2" opening. Pull the strap right side out through opening and hand stitch that close.

Step 15: With the outside fabric facing, sew the ends together. Lay the strap flat (so it looks like a straight line, not a circle) and fold in half. Place a pin in each side of the strap at the fold. Now, fold the bottom of the bag in half lengthwide. Match the pins with the center fold on the bottom so that when pulled up the straps will fall on either side of the pocket and pin.

Step 16: Sew 1/4" from the edge of the strap all the way around, continuing past the bag and down again. I liked that this bound the outside and inside of the bags together, but if you don't like that you can sew the straps onto the outside of the bag before you attach the inside lining.

Step 17: Sew a button hole and a button and you're done!

Phew, that was long winded. I promise it's an easy sew once you figure out what you're doing. I'll try to post a better picture of the final product later!

Good luck!

Something Lovely For My Eyes II...

The next installment in my favorite Flickr photographers is from cannelle et vanille. Not only does she have a blog that gives the recipes and stories for all these delectable photos, she has a gorgeous photostream over at Flickr with food shots, botanical shots and more! The food is so gorgeous and mouth watering though that I felt they needed their own showcase.
1. dirty dishes, 2. strawberry sorbet, 3. chocolate buttermilk cupcakes, 4. meyer lemons, coconut and white chocolate, 5. pistachio galette des rois, 6. more kumquats, 7. candied orange, 8. pumpkin and gingerbread ice cream sandwiches

Monday, March 2, 2009

Something Lovely For My Eyes...

I've recently become a huge fan of Flickr (home to all the lovely cupcakes and retro signs) and finally realized that I can get my favorite photographers brought to me daily through my Google Blog Reader!

So many are so simple, lovely and happy that it just makes my day! In honor of realizing I can get blog updates on them and that I learned how to use the Mosaic Maker last week. I'll be featuring some of my favorite photographers from Flickr. Make sure to visit their Flickr pages and see all the fabulous offerings!

First up: The beautiful eyes of i.anton...
1. i wish we were, 2. Hours fly, Flowers die, New days, New ways, Pass by, Love stays, 3. Untitled, 4. Oh Bokeh! Oh Joy!, 5. Jaipur mint, 6. Untitled, 7. winter's tale, 8. well, maybe dreams do come true!......

Friday, February 27, 2009

A Fun Idea!

1. Laura and Jonathan - more jumpin', 2. Vegetarian Sushi Cake, 3. Moon, 4. House nestled in Vineyard, 5. Taylor Hanson.jpg, 6. Caipirina, 7. When East Meets West, 8. love exists. 49:365, 9. Stairway to Heaven, 10. Bums, 11. Stockholm, Sweden 061 - Lake Mälaren - Sunset without you / Atardeció sin tí, 12. Sparganium angustifolium

I borrowed this fun idea from yet another new fabulous blog on my blogroll Jen Elisabeth. I love finding blogs where you feel the blogger is a kindred spirit!

The concept:
a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd's mosaic maker.

The Questions:
1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?

11. One word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name.

Happy Friday...

This should make your Friday oh-so-very-happy... it's so cute! (Thanks Mama for sending it to me!)

The Friday Cupcake...

Decorating a cupcake...
Originally uploaded by Tata Qtr*

I think this cupcake is so freakin cute! I especially love the guy hanging out on the M&M at the base there!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Something Lovely For My Stuff...

I am not a big handbag/clutch/purse person. I've been carrying around the same black "sac" a la Target since 2001. It has worn to a nice black-grey color and fits everything I need without being overly large, but I'll be the first to admit that it's u.g.l.y. I don't have a great selection of "going out" bags either. Usually I'll just use the black sac, or, depending on the outfit, my small black clutch with pink polka dots or this tealish-pewter thing I bought in a pinch while traveling for work. These are okay, but like I've said I've never really been awe-struck by a bag... until I saw these Tuxedo Cherbu envelope clutches by Nelle Handbags! I think they are absolutely gorgeous. I could use one for a night out with the ladies wearing jeans and a sweater or to some fancy shindig (because I go to oh-so-many of those). It might be worth the investment just so I don't end up at weddings this year sporting the tealish-pewter thing! (I would like it in the purple, green, off-white and dark silver color please!)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Self-Indulgent Musing..

I call this a "Self-Indulgent Musing" because I'm not really offering anything up here. No step-by-steps for a DIY project or "Something Lovely" to use... it's just me rambling. But of course, what is my blog if not ALL self-indulgent musings?

So I've been knee-deep in crafting mode lately. They are mostly wedding projects but once I get started the projects start a-flowing. In this crafting mode I've been so frustrated that I don't have certain tools at my disposal, specifically: a computer design program and wood working tools (saws, drills, planes, chisels, screws, nails, etc). It's not that I can't get these items for a cost, it's just that I've realized how spoiled I was that I expected them to be right there when I needed them.

I'm realizing how lucky I was with my "creative upbringing". My parents are very creative people in different ways and I had unlimited access to the tools of their trade. My mom wrote newsletters and articles from her home computer as I grew up. While her writing skills did not rub off on me, I did get to play around on her computer programs: Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Pagemaker, Corel Draw, etc. Imagine surprise when I got my own computer at work and it didn't have ANY design programs. I thought that it was just part of the normal suite you got with your computer! I was explaining my frustrating to our Graphic Designer at work (also a good friend, I wasn't just whining to the Creative Department) and she looked at me funny and said "Do you even know how to use that stuff?" Now, I don't know how to use it the way she does, but for my simple needs (that are a little more complex than Powerpoint can handle) I do know how to. My mom taught me from a pretty young age how to lay out school projects and reports on Adobe Pagemaker and when she picked up the Corel Suite I started laying out my quilt patterns on it. I didn't realize that this was anything out of the norm!

Then on the other side of the creative spectrum is my dad. My Dad (though now officially retired) is a fantastic woodworker and has built and renovated numerous houses, crafted furniture, carved block prints and pretty much any other wood related item you could ask for. When I was younger he had me help install baseboard in a house he was building and once again I thought it was normal for a 10 year old to know how to use a nail gun and a planer. But with that came my other skewed expectations that EVERYBODY knew how to renovate a house (or worse yet-- that I knew... I've seen it done enough I must have absorbed somethign right?!). At the very least, I was spoiled with all the access I've had to wood-working tools and accessories. So when the time came a few weeks ago to pick up materials to make a Letterpress and A. asked me how I planned on cutting the wood, I looked at him blankly. "Oh yeah... we don't have a saw". (or a drill, or screws...). Who knew that Lowe's would cut the wood for you!

So I consider myself lucky (thanks Mom and Dad) that I've been exposed to these different "tools of the trade(s)" but at the same time it's so frustrating when there's something I know I could do if only I had ___(insert tool name here)____!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Inspiration Board: Bird Themed Baby Shower

Once that birds nest cake plate is in my collection I will definitely have to use it for a bird/nest themed baby shower in pale turquoise and cheery yellow!
  • Top Left: A wonderful gift for the new nursery. A "Fairy Tale" Bird Cage from DreamCatcher at A perfect invitation for a spring-time shower available at onemore's Etsy shop. Inspiration for a cheery yellow and blue tablescape from
  • Middle: Maxi Maternity dress from Fabulous bird inspired cake stand by If the eggs are replaced with jordan almonds or my oh-so-favorite Easter treats the Speckled Malt Egg, these would make for a very sweet favor. Another option is to attach a small tag and treat as an escort card
  • Bottom: A beautiful handmade onesie for the new addition to the family availabe at Whimzeebaby's Etsy shop (can you tell that I'm smitten with all Etsy has to offer?). Another adorable favor option from (where else?) Etsy! This cute Mama bird with eggs is actually soap available LoveLeeSoap's shop. Added bonus: it smells like baby powder!

An Online Find...

While reading the always inspiring decor8 blog today I heard of this online gallery papernstitch which was new to me. It's a showcasing of international works of art whether it be jewelry, photography, crafting, etc. It changes up every month to showcase even MORE fabulous finds.

My immediate favorite was Gypsy Girl's Guide Photography. Her photos are so striking and the color so vivid. It's how I always wish my travel photos will come out!

And as always, searching around this small online community of handmade artists bring me back to etsy (gosh I love etsy). Papernstitch is featuring Pink Bathtub Design's beautiful stationery. Pink Bathtub Design also has an etsy website and a spin-off site JetSetPaper which has the best vintage-y travel stationery!

Something Lovely For My Table...

I love this whimsical birds nest cake stand from (a great source if you're into Shabby Chic stuff)! Not only would it be perfect for cakes (being a cake stand) but pile it high with blueberry muffins or little quiches for a fabulous spring-inspired brunch...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Last Something Lovely..

paint color
Originally uploaded by cannelle-vanille

Enjoy your Monday!

Even More Something Lovely

jam jar rose
Originally uploaded by Creature Comforts

More Something Lovely

tulip trio
Originally uploaded by Creature Comforts

Something Lovely To Look At....

Originally uploaded by cannelle-vanille

Being that it's Monday and a chilly Monday at that, I thought some beautiful spring-esque flower pictures were in order. These are some of my favorites from photostreams on Flickr.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Friday Cupcake...

Perfect Centerpieces for a Picnic or Beach Wedding!!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Something Delicious...

I found this lovely WikiHow through a Facebook post and had to give it a try. Plus I love any excuse to use and show off my Zebra Mugs!

First the mugs. They are getting a little old and chipped but I find them fantastic. They were one of the first purchases my dad made as he outfitted his kitchen when I was 10. When you're 10, Zebra Mugs are pretty much the best thing ever (I have no excuse as to why I find them so fabulous now). When it came time to stock my own kitchen I tore through all our old dishes in the attic and barn until I found these guys again. Much to Adam's dismay, I use them every day (and he refuses to touch them).

Now the yummy stuff. I won't go through all the details, as you can see those on the WikiHow: How to Make Cake in a Mug. We tried the Hot Chocolate Cake and the Chocolate Cake. The Hot Chocolate Cake won out and probably because we used a fantastic Double Cream Hot Chocolate Mix. It really isn't that much easier than making an actual cake, but it's good for when you just need a "little bit" of chocolate and don't trust yourself around a double layer cake of chocolatey goodness.

A couple of notes: I'm sure it depends on your microwave, but the top of my cake never looked dry like it does in the WikiHow directions, so the first time I overcooked it. The stop still looked wet, but the inside was bone dry. And both times I got that bizarre lump on one side, I have no idea why!

Next time I want to dry it with a dollop of peanut butter in the center... mmmm

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

For the Love of Faux Bois...

For some reason the sight of Faux Bois, used appropriately of course, makes me so very happy. It has to be used in the right manner though-- I do not like fake wood where real wood should be, including (but not limited to): furniture, hardwood flooring, jewelry where real wood could work (this breaks down further-- if faux bois is etched into silver I'm okay with that, if it's printed with brown/neutral tones I am not), kitchen accessories, etc.

However, I love it when you least expect it like in these photos below. It stands out, it makes you do a double take... (Clockwise L to R):
- This Faux Bois clutch by keykalou is a fantastic addition to your handbag collection.
- These notecards at the rockscisoorpaper store have been bookmarked in my favorites for a couple of years now. Something about the teal woodgrain is so freakin fun!
- I have to bow down before both the bride and groom that served this beautiful cake at their wedding and the baker that pulled off this delightful creation. To me this is a perfect use of Faux Bois. Of course you would never confuse this cake with being made of real wood, but the effect makes it stand far apart from other wedding cakes. (Photograph by Kyle Hale via Once Wed blog).
- Another etsy gem (ameliamae): a lovely Faux Bois print on canvas.
- I love this fabric by Moda. My dream is to use it as a headboard... which borders on the line of misuse of Faux Bois, but I think the blue-grey coloring with appropriate stuffing would keep it on the safe side!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Fantastic find...

While Perusing my blogs today I came across Pia Jane Bijkerk's "enhance everday" blog {via .v blog} and it's another fabulous one to add to the roll. She does beautiful work but beyond that... she lives on a houseboat in Amsterdam. Houseboat in Amsterdam. House. Boat. In. Amsterdam. This has always been one of my travel dreams. Check out my scrapbook from Amsterdam and it's probably 90% houseboats with reasons why I would want to live in each one.

Anyways, she was featuring this application called Poladroid. It's a fabulously fun app that turns your digital photos into Polaroid-esque shots. It couldn't be easier to use and true to Polaroid form you have to wait for your photos to develop. I love the vintage quality to them!

Presidents Day Crafting...

I had the glorious fortune of having President's Day off work on Monday and it provided the perfect wide-open day for crafting. I spent the morning doing Wedding Crafting, that Mr. Fiance has asked me not to post about until after the wedding (seeing how so much of the wedding is going to be DIY this is a reasonable request or I'd give away everything!), but the afternoon was focused on some other crafting just for myself!

Starting next month I will be full swing into my travel-heavy Tradeshow Season and during the city hopping, plane boarding, and long hours on a Tradeshow floor (man that sounds glorious... it's not), my laptop and my shoulder bag get a beating. I spent a couple of hours sewing up a laptop case and naturally forgot to take photos every step of the way. Luckily, it's so very simple you shouldn't need step-by-steps photos, hopefully my words will do!

Step 1: Find two fabulous fabrics either from your stash or your nearest fabric store (WalMart often has good finds in their $1 bin).

Step 2: Measure your Laptop. Just An Idea Blog helped me out with this aspect: I have a 13" MacBook and used these final measurements Side A: 15.35" x 11.02". Side B: 15.35" x 14.75" (converted from cm).
If you don't have a Macbook use the following guide (also from Just An Idea):

"Side A: Length + height (from the table up, how thick it is) + 3cm for seam allowance. That’s your length. Now take the width + the height +3 cm = that’s your width.

Side B: Same Width as A. Length is the same as A, but add however long you want the flap of your sleeve to be."

Step 3: Cut out a Side A and a Side B from both pieces of fabric (total of 4 pieces).

Step 4: Put the two outside fabric (black polka dots) right sides (printed side) together and sew a 5/18" seam on the 15.35" side, do the same with the inside (paisley) fabric. Yes, this defeats the purpose of cutting out two separate pieces, but I had followed Just An Idea blog until this point so I had two pieces.

Step 5: Press down the seams of each side.

Step 6: Put the two right sides of the fabrics together, pin together and sew a 5/18" seam all the way around leaving about 3 inches open on the last side.

Step 7: Snip the fabric at each corner without cutting into the thread.

Step 8: Pull the pocket inside out through the open 3", make sure to poke out the corners so they are sharp.

Step 9: Press the outside edges so the fabric lays flat.

Step 10: Now you have to find the perfect fit for your laptop. Place the fabric outside fabric down on a flat surface. Place your laptop with the bottom edge on the middle seam (hah, and you thought cutting 2 pieces had no purpose!). Pull the fabric below the computer over the top and adjust the laptop so the bottom edge of the fabric pulls up even with the top of the laptop. Make sure your laptop is center left to right. Pinch together the fabric on either side of the laptop to find where your side seams should be. Use a pin to mark that spot. I left the "raw edge" (where the outside and inside fabric meet) on the outside instead of sewing inside out because I loved the peep of bright color in the black.

Step 11: Sew the sides using 1/4" or whatever makes for the best fit for your laptop.

Step 12: Place your laptop inside and pull down the top flap. Figure where you would like your button and mark the outside. Now there are two ways to go:

  • If you have a button hole attachment: Stitch and rip a button hole in the right place. Sew a button underneath the upper flap and VOILA! you have a laptop case.
  • If you don't have a button hole attachment or you're hand sewing. Sew a decorative button on the top flap. Underneath flap use velcro circles to secure the flap down and VOILA! you have a laptop case!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Something Lovely: For My Wedding Toast!

I was never crazy about the tradition of the monogrammed Toasting Flutes and Cake Server. I have nothing against it, it just didn't interest me in the least. However, in the Winter Issue of Martha Stewart Weddings I saw these beautiful stemless (remember I'm anti-stem at the moment), "Golden Berry" flutes (bottom right from and it was love at first sight! Which got me thinking about what other fantastic champagne glasses I may be overlooking.

The glasses on the top left are a gorgeous, more traditional option from Simon Pearce, the Wellesley Flute. All of their stemware (and everything else they make) is handmade on-site at their restaurant/storefront/workshop in Quechee, VT.

The top right glasses, aptly named Crystal Dot Stemware by, also struck a chord with me as I love polka dots! A. doesn't want polka dots in the wedding, but if I could sneak this in I definitely would.

The Marie- Antoinette glasses from Pottery Barn are absolutely fabulous! I love the colors and the design, though knowing me I would go to gesture while I spoke and slosh it all over the side... probably best for me to stick with the tall and narrow design.

And then there's the "Golden Berry". I can't really tell you why, because all of these options are so fantastic, but I love this one the most! I don't think the little picture below does it nearly enough justice!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Awesome Sign of the Day

Originally uploaded by Куртис Перри

This photographer has the best eye for fabulous signs! In honor of the Spring that I hope is right around the corner I share with you the Daffodil Motel and all it's signage wonderfulness!

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Friday Cupcake...

a day early

I looked through 30 pages of Flickr "Valentine's Day Cupcakes" looking for some beautiful chocolate and red concoction and then I realized that a real Valentine's Day Cupcake is a gooey mess (though these are definitely not a mess) of pink frosting and sprinkles and candy hearts! I found these lovelies back on the fifth page..

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Something Lovely: For My Feet!

First my ode to the flipp-flopp: I love flipp-flopps. They are my trademark footwear. I wore them to Senior Prom (applied the glitter myself with ModPodge paste... they started to melt as soon as I started dancing), High School Graduation (white with a daisy chain ribbon hot glued onto the straps), College Graduation (a very mature black kitten heel flipp flopp), and pretty much every day between the day the snow STARTS to melt and the day the snow is too deep to walk in again. At one point I owned over 16 pairs. Currently I own a pair of hot pink platform flipp flopps with plastic fruit attached (Think the Chiquita Banana Lady-- they were a gift). They are comfortable, inexpensive, available in any color you could want and generally fabulous. I love them.

My heart will always be with the flipp flopp so please don't hold the next statement against me. I think I want to wear heels at my wedding. Well at least for the ceremony - let's be honest the flipp flopps will make a comeback for dancing at the reception. But I love the idea of a brightly colored shoe peeping out from underneath a wedding gown. It's all pretty in white and then BAM! crazy color. Now which shoe to pick!?! (Left to Right): Overstock: Nine West Georgy Dark Purple/Dark Purple Fabric; Overstock: Tribeca Net Prime Grape Satin; Overstock: Charles by Charles David 'Tux' Women's Peep-- In teal!!; Overstock: Two Lips Maia Purple.