Friday, February 27, 2009
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!
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.
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.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
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
- Top Left: A wonderful gift for the new nursery. A "Fairy Tale" Bird Cage from DreamCatcher at Etsy.com. A perfect invitation for a spring-time shower available at onemore's Etsy shop. Inspiration for a cheery yellow and blue tablescape from theknot.com.
- Middle: Maxi Maternity dress from www.9monthstogrow.com. Fabulous bird inspired cake stand by Roomservicehome.com. 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!
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!
I love this whimsical birds nest cake stand from Roomservicehome.com (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
Friday, February 20, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
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
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
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!
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
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 RoomServiceHome.com, 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
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
a day early
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
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.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
One of my other favorite items (there's so many!) are these recycled glass "seaglass" plates, especially the wavy one. They are beautiful all together, but I would love to use the wavy plate in Seafoam with white dishes and a dark blue tablecloth for a summery sea-side dinner (anyone have a sea-side location they would be willing to lend me?)
Monday, February 9, 2009
The news has become public, Congrats to Megan and Mike on their soon-to-be new addition (you know.. soon like in 9 months).
I have been waiting to use this card from Elseweres ever since I first saw it. I love the caution in the listing "choose carefully between 'I'm knocked up' and 'You're knocked up'." Granted, not everyone will find it as humorous as I... and I hope M&M do.... Congrats again!
These cards from etsy seller alidesign are so cute for Valentine's Day or any day of the year as a thank you, miss you, I'm sorry, or even just a "hi!" kind of greeting.
Heads up: You're not purchasing the printed card! (Well you can, but that requires a special convo with the seller). Alidesign is part of a new trend on Etsy.com where you purchase the card stock set (in this case it includes notecards, gift tags, envelopes and letterhead) and the design template with instructions/suggestions.
I was skeptical of this concept at first-- I wanted what I saw in the pretty picture! But now I realize that this is a perfect option to exercise your creativity without having to start from scratch. Alidesign provides design suggestions but you can do the rest yourself. Plus at $5 a pop you can't go wrong!
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Photo from Flickr!
Friday, February 6, 2009
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Left: Etsy.com- Jen's Closet; Middle: cb2.com - cheers wine glasses; Right: cb2.com- ibiza wine glasses. Click any picture to go to the website.
I've decided that I'm not going to register for any wine glasses, the stems break off too easily! Drinking wine, or any beverage be it alcoholic or not, is just more fun in these juice glasses. I will still keep one set of stemmed wine glasses around for those who are not as anti-wine glass as myself.
The glasses on the left are actually for wine, but I'll forgive them that. The only problem is they don't have the Gaelic "cheers"- Slainte! The glasses in the middle are so fun and perfect for a summertime soiree. They'll fit right in with my Moroccan inspired Outdoor Living Area (the theme of my Outdoor Living Area changes often). I love the vintage gold rimmed glasses on the right from etsy.com, they are classy but so functional.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
In my mind, letterpress stationery is one of the most luxurious items out there. It's right up there with Leonidas chocolates or bamboo sheets- all three give me that "ahhhh" feeling like I'm indulging in something decadent. Is it weird that stationery has that effect on me? Anyways, what hostess or bride-to-be would not be psyched to open up this little gift? (I suppose someone who doesn't cook...)
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
I love the detail on this one, from the panels in street lamps to the way the couple holds hands is so minutely perfect!
She also has these beautiful cut-outs of ballerinas that would be gorgeous in a little girls bedroom or in a small bathroom. Ahhh I feel an inspiration board coming up!
I'm ready for it to be summer or at the very least spring. If I had my way it would start snowing the two days before Thanksgiving and stop the day after Valentine's Day with a particularly heavy snow fall on Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Years Day. Instead I have to face the fact that it's only the end of January and spring is still a few months off and embrace the cold.
Take advantage of this rare opportunity to cozy up at home and pair sparkly metallics and crystal with comfort food and warm drinks (just because your decor is fancy, doesn't mean your food has to be over-the-top as well!)
Use these two pieces to kick-start your inspiration: The icicle crystals (from Vivaterra.com) would look beautiful hung with votives on a vase of Mitsumata branches. Keep up the "icy" feel with silver chargers and napkin rings and glass or bright white plates set on a dark blue (extra points if its irridescent!) tablecloth. Place these snowball candle holders (from cb2.com) around the table for extra glow. Serve drinks and food that are best enjoyed on a frigid evening: big bowls of chili, individual ramekins of macaroni and cheese, crusty loaves of bread and mulled cider or hot cocoa!
Monday, February 2, 2009
The caption for "Quick as 'WikiWiki'" reads (in bright green which I will replicate here for the full effect):
In the language of Hawaii, our fiftieth state, "wikiwiki" means "like nows-ville." It's the word for step-on-it...scurry... full speed ahead. Minutes count!
"Wikiwiki" cooking is for anyone. Serve a tasty, juicy meat loaf exactly 50 minutes after you dash in the door on errand day. Whip up a 1-2-3 Fudge Sauce when the neighborhood suddenly decides YOURS is the only ice cream parlor on the block. Produce Oven Scrambled Eggs ALMOST instantly.
Or take another cue from the Islands and serve Fruit and Shrimp Hawaiin!
FRUIT AND SHRIMP HAWAIIAN (Makes 6 to 8 servings)
1 1/2 c diced cooked shrimp (or use cooked crab or lobster, if you prefer)
2 c cooked shell macaroni
1 1/3 c drained pineapple tidbits
1/2 c sliced green or red seeded grapes
3 T butter
3 T flour
1 1/2 t salt
1/2 t ground ginger
1/4 t pepper
1 2/3 c (large can) undiluted CARNATION EVAPORATED MILK
1/3 c coconut
Combine shrimp, macaroni, pineapple and grapes. Melt butter in top of double boiler over hot water. combine flour, salt, ginger and pepper. Add to melted butter; stir until a smooth paste. Slowly add Carnation. Cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Add sauce to macaroni. mix well. Pour into 1 1/2 qt casserole. Top with coconut. Bake in a moderate oven (350 deg F) about 20 minutes.
Just in case your really going Hawaiian, serve chilled papaya garnished with lime wedges!
Doesn't get much tastier than that!
So I started off on my quest to translate that into a cupcake. To make a Green Tea cupcake you need Green Tea Powder, also known as "Matcha". After exhausting my resources for odd ingredients (Trader Joe's and Whole Foods) I found an Asian Grocery Store in Hartford. This place was fantastic! It had all the foods that I pay way too much for at the normal grocery store. So after picking up some lemongrass for the soup I was making that night, inexpensive nori for sushi and "healthy stomach" tea by request of the fiancee, I found the Matcha! My excitement was so overwhelming that I didnt really look at the box very well (I assumed it was all in Mandarin anyways).
Checking out the box when I got home I realized I picked up "Matcha Au Lait", the Asian Equivalent of Cafe Au Lait (and yes, it said so in English on the box). It's a mixture of granulated sugar, skim milk, powdered green tea and some other unecessary ingredients. If you find the real stuff, probably available next to the Matcha Au Lait, you will need to adjust the amount of the green tea you use!
For the Green Tea Cupcake I used the Magnolia Bakery Vanilla Cupcake Recipe with a few changes. First, I only did half and it made a perfect dozen cupcakes. Second, I mixed in about 5 Tablespoons of the Match Au Lait. Lastly, I used regular flour with salt and baking powder as a substitute for the self-rising flour.
For the frosting I used this Citrus Frosting Recipe (halved) with the milk instead of half and half and 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice. The frosting is incredibly light and fluffy but it does have a slightly grainy texture. I thought this might be because I mixed the lemon juice in with milk, but while cleaning up I found a blob of frosting that had been flung from the bowl prior to the lemon juice addition and it was the same texture.
The Verdict: Doesn't taste or look particularly "Green Tea-ish" which is actually fine by me, because I don't like Green Tea Desserts, but the combination of the two is a very refreshing!