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: Www.PastryItems.com. 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 GoccoPress.com. 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!