Saturday, January 31, 2009

Sick Sales

I just walked back from brunch and shopping-two of my favorite weekend activities. I just had to jump online and tell you about the crazy sales I enjoyed today. Banana Republic is offering an extra 30% off all sale items. I got three pairs of pants for work--each UNDER $10. TEN dollars people!! Crazy. I also have to note that the sales in the store were much better than the ones I saw on their website. 

Then I headed over to Paper Source and got a few packs of Christmas cards. They are all 75% off so my letterpress cards were about $3.50 per box.  

I felt like the lady on that Ikea commercial who runs out of the store screaming at her husband to "start the car, START THE CAAAAAAAR!"

Paper Source

Friday, January 30, 2009

Finished product

Let me just get one thing out of the way. I realized after I uploaded my photos that my silverware is on the wrong sides. Can I have a get out of jail free pass this one time? It has been a long week and I can't find the energy to take more pictures. 

Also, since I'm laying it all out there...I know that my coffee table is a sad excuse for a dining table, however my husband and I are still trying to find the perfect one. So it will just have to do for now. 

Now that my confession is out of the is my finished product. As previously mentioned, I wanted to recreate the stone table runners that I saw and loved. However, I didn't have enough sea glass, which explains the non-table runner size. I still really like how it turned out and I can't wait to use it. 

One more thing, I think you'll agree that a white candle would be prettier and match better, but I couldn't find one that was the right height. Thus the handmade beeswax candle...

So, what do you think?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sea glass

You may remember that I mentioned making a table runner out of sea glass that I found on beaches in Scotland last April. Well, I decided that I would only use white and blue shades, which really reduced the amount of usable glass and china. So, a table runner was out. And a smaller placemat-like size was in. I stopped at Michaels today for the goods and here is the "before" picture. Hopefully my apartment will be sunny again tomorrow and I can photograph the "after."

Too much?

I think these coffee stencils from World Market are hysterical, if a little OCD. I've never seen stenciled coffee in real life but I have a feeling it would make me really happy. World Market is selling the stencils in packs of 6, and while I enjoy the smiley face and heart, the other designs don't really appeal to me. I guess it wouldn't be that hard to find stencils that I do like, and perhaps I will look today on my trip to Michaels.

Let's get organized

Today's Washington Post has an article about organizing offices...something that I really need to learn! There are always a million articles about organization in January, as I'm sure it is high on many people's resolution lists. Chris Plantan's (of Russell + Hazel) pink leather Pottery Barn box really caught my eye. Wouldn't you love to organize all of your stationary and other office goods in this chic box?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Bedding update

Well, Macy's was shockingly out of both bed skirts that I'd had my eye on.  However, I did manage to pick up some new pillows (for only $9 down from $44 each!!!) and Martha Stewart's flannel sheets, pictured above.  I have never tried her sheets, but today's snowy weather made flannel sheets seem like the perfect idea. And, at $25, down from $160, who could resist? 


Macy's semi-annual home sale is today, although it seems that they have a different sale every week.  Anyway, I am off to brave the icy roads for some deals.  I have to pick up some king size pillows (I'll admit it-I've been folding the long edge of my new king size pillowcases over my regular sized pillows for the last few weeks. shhh!) and a new bed skirt.  I have always had a white bed skirt, as they really match everything. I planned on sticking with white, but I  

really like brown skirt shown with my set (above). Hmm...the bed skirt prices might make up my mind for me. 

Snow day!!

Woo Hoo! Honestly, its truly possible that teachers are the most excited about snow days. If I still lived in New York I would head over to City Bakery for some of their rich hot chocolate. 

Old Luckett Store

I love driving out to the Old Luckett Store, in Loudoun County, VA. Driving through white fenced horse farms and tucked away wineries (did you know VA is freckled with hundreds of vineyards?), the 1910 building rests across from a lonely stoplight.  The store is in a beautiful old creaky building and is home to more than 20 antique dealers. It is so much fun to wade through all of the different rooms and floors of the store. The furniture even spills out onto their long porch.  I'm pretty sure they also offer a lot of reproductions, which tend to confuse me. Sadly, I'm the worst at identifying furniture periods, worth, repros, and good deals. I've relied on my mom's infinite knowledge for so long to help me decipher an antique's worth but haven't really learned the tricks myself.  That is definitely one of my current goals. 

I adore lilacs and this pitcher is perfect for the fragrant, gangly branches. Obviously the hutch is beautiful too, although not quite my husband's and my style.
I love my current (rented) brand new apartment. But after years of renting old Boston brownstones with fireplaces in almost every room, my apartment doesn't feel quite right without a mantel. I love the one pictured above!
Although I don't have room for one now, I'd love to have a hutch to display my china and glassware. This one is great, although I would definitely have to paint it...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Letterpress Card - Togetherness
This card by Meic & Villeneuve is lovely.


I am sweatin some Viva Terra today. This decanter is gorgeous and I love serving and drinking wine in tumblers. I know that it is popular, but for me it still feels a little taboo. In a good way of course. 

Clear Recycled Glass Wine Decanter Set

More runners

I just came across this white stone runner on Viva Terra's website. I like it even better than the one I posted yesterday. Yesterday I laid out all of my sea glass, and now I just have to figure out the best way to make the runner. I'm excited about it and will post the results soon.

White Stone Runner, Placemats and Coasters
On another note, I love the white and gray palate in these photos.

Monday, January 26, 2009


I love these tote bags-they would definitely make grocery shopping a little more chic. But, I also think that these Mothology designs would look great on pillow cases.

Table runner

Yesterday I was in Z Gallerie, which is a new store for me. They had a lot of interesting and unique items, but one that really caught my eye was this table runner. In the store more of the stones were pale blue and chocolate brown-a color combo that I love. I think it would be fantastic for an outdoor dinner party. Although intrigued by the table runner, I didn't end up buying it...the fact that my husband and I don't have a deck and still can't decide on a dining room/kitchen table being a few reasons!

Even though I didn't buy the table runner, it really got me thinking. I have a large glass jar filled with sea glass from my last trip to Scotland and I've been trying to think of a way to display it, so that you can really see the designs on the china pieces and etches in the glass. At some point I thought I'd use it in a mosaic-perhaps on a mirror. But, I hadn't thought of a table runner! I'm so excited to go home from work today to lay out all of my glass and china pieces and see if I have enough flat pieces that would work.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Easy Living

When my Mom, sister, or I travel to or through Britain, we always make sure to stock up on our favorite British magazines. I can't even count how many times we have raced through Heathrow to buy as many as we can carry, before dashing to a connecting flight. We love the Brit mags for the beautiful pictures, quirky fashion, and cozy decorating style. My sister and I also love that many of the magazines give free samples- we've stocked up on free flip flops, bags and makeup. 

When I can't make it over the pond, I also like to visit some of my favorite magazine's websites. Look at this beautiful tea party from Easy Living. I love everything about this setting-from the silver teapot to the red and white striped tablecloth. I also love tea tins-especially this classic one from Harrods. 


Friday, January 23, 2009

Another valentine that I just love by In-vita Paper Studio.
The artwork is so sweet and I love the font. 

How can I resist you... Valentine greeting card


Valentine's Day seems far away, but it is really just around the corner. And, since my sister lives in far off China, I have to start planning now. I checked out a few Etsy sites, to see if I could find anything special. Here are a few items that caught my eye.

Heart Beat hand drawn Valentine card Wouldn't this valentine by Baumcat look lovely framed? I love the use of ink and watercolor. So unique.

Folk Art Valentines (Set of 6)
I think these colors and designs are fantastic. I also love how the cards are flat and use recycled paper. Nouveau designs also offers some beautiful thank you cards. Check them out.
Blooming Heart original watercolor painting 4x6 inches

I know this watercolor (karenfaulknerart) isn't technically a valentine, but who wouldn't love to receive it on February 14? And at just 4x6 inches, I think it is just perfect.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


I wanted to post this yesterday, but when my husband and I got home after a four hour journey (it should have been under an hour), I was just too exhausted. But happy. And filled with excitement and hope!

People around us, waiting for the inauguration ceremony and dancing to "Shout" which pumped out of the speakers. Everyone was so excited and enthusiastic about our future.

Check out the crowd on the way out-I have never seen so many people rolling in one direction. It was really crazy, but (mostly) everyone was calm and peaceful. What a wonderful day!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Cake wrappers

I love love love these dainty Paper Orchid laser cut cake and cupcake wraps. I imagine they would create quite a stir at a shower or birthday party. Look at me, mentioning showers two posts in a row. I really can't wait for my nieces to grow up just a little more so that I can bring pink frosted cupcakes encased in the wrappers below, to one of their
birthday parties.


Aprons, Mitts & Towels - Jessie Steele Pink Paris Hostess Apron

How sweet is this Jesse Steele apron? I found it when I was looking for 
wedding shower gifts. I think it would be just perfect for a 
new bride. I also thought it was too cute to pass up! I wore 
it for the first time this past weekend when my husband
and I roasted our first turkey. My husband seemed a little
concerned about my infatuation with it! 

Monday, January 12, 2009


Last week I was looking through my dresser drawer for a receipt and was so frustrated by my necklaces, bracelets, broaches, and other jewelry overflowing from the drawer. Not only was it a mess, but I didn't take advantage of my jewelry- unorganized as it was. I knew I had to find a solution and when I saw this picture, I was inspired. 

I went to Anthropologie and picked up these unique knobs on serious sale. Here is what they looked like before I hung my jewelry.

And here they are all dressed up!  I put the knobs right next to my dresser so that I can easily accessorize every morning. 

Afternoon snack

My lucky sister lives in Shanghai and brought lucky me back a bag of goodies for Christmas. One gift that makes me happy every afternoon is pictured here-the lovely sugar that you see above.  It reminds me of the sticky rock candy we used to eat as kids. Yum! Another delicious item in the picture are the amazing, crunchy, chocolate covered cookies that my brother, sister, and I discovered in Scotland last spring. They are Fox's Chocolate Crinkles and I am in love with who can blame me for hiding the package that my parents bought me this fall when they were in Europe? What my husband doesn't know won't hurt him...

Sunday, January 11, 2009


How gorgeous is this Paper Source 2009 Wall Art Calendar
I just saw it in their store and the illustrations are striking. And 
what makes it even more fun is that the calendar comes with directions
to make folders, boxes, and gift labels with the paper at the end of the 
year.  Although, I have to admit it would be very difficult to cut 
these gorgeous designs. 


The first family recipe that I attempted after making my declaration, was my in-laws' stuffing/gravy recipe AND Alton Brown's roast turkey recipe. I have never roasted a turkey before and honestly, I was pretty nervous! Thanksgiving dinner is such a huge part of family tradition, and I knew I had to find the perfect recipes. Lucky for me, a lot of pressure was relieved since we roasted our turkey in January. And let me tell you-it was delicious! My husband and I brined the turkey overnight (in a $2 home depot bucket!) which made it juicy and so flavorful.  Alton Brown has over 2,000 excellent reviews attached to his recipe, so I guess I don't have to elaborate, but when my husband said the turkey didn't need gravy, I knew we had a keeper!


I also have to admit, I'm slightly obsessed with the stuffing! We cut the stuffing recipe in half, since there are only two of us and as it is, we'll be eating turkey for the rest of our lives. Anyway, the recipe called for lemon zest, and its possible that I added too much-I loved the result: fresh and lemony, a nice addition to the heavy mashed potatoes and gravy. I think my husband prefers his parents' less lemon zesty original recipe, so next time we'll just have to make two batches.

Here is my in-laws' stuffing and gravy recipe, appropriate for a 25 pound turkey.
First, make the Turkey Stock:
Put neck, gizzards, heart, and liver into a pot with water along with 2 carrots, peeled and cut in into 1 inch pieces;
2 onions peeled and quartered,
8 sprigs of parsley rinsed;
2 bay leaves;
2 teaspoons of salt and water.
Use a 3 or 4 quart pot and use about 8 to 9 cups of water.
Bring to a boil and then simmer for 1 1/2 hours
Strain liquid into a container (you will use this liquid for basting the turkey and to make the gravy. Keep the neck, gizzards, heart, liver, for the gravy. You can let them cool and then chop them up and remove the meat from the neck and chop up. Discard the carrots, onions, and parlsey.

3 pounds of bread - cut into cubes - 2 to 3 days before or after you cube the bread place on cookie sheets and put into oven and bake at 350 degrees to dry out the bread and lightly toast the cubes.           (t) teaspoon (T) Tablespoon (c) cup (#) pound

1 t sage
3/4 c parsley - chopped
1/2 c walnuts - -coarsely chopped - can omit
****next two items***
4 stalks celery - use the leaves -chopped
3 medium onions - peeled - chopped
Place the onions in a skillet with 1/2 pound butter. Cook for about 5 minutes till the onion is translucent.
Stir in the celery and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
Add to the above items.
Add 1 t crushed bay leaf
2 T lemon peel
2 eggs
1/2 t ground pepper
1 T salt
3 to 4 cups of turkey stock...stuffing should be moist - not wet.
1/2 cup liquer...can be brandy, triple sec, or any liquer

Clean the two cavities of the turkey and wipe the insides of the two cavities with salt from your hand. We coat the entire bird with a light coating of olive oil. Stuff the bird and secure the legs and the neck flap to keep the stuffing in the bird. 
From here, we followed Alton's recipe for roasting.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Family Heirlooms

After years of my siblings and me calling our mom every few weeks for recipes, my mother created each of us our own copy of "Mom's Favorite Recipes." The beautiful, handmade recipe book is comprised of many of her favorite recipes, which we all grew up on. 

She also included recipes from our grandparents and great-grandparents-many of the recipe cards are copies of the originals-my grandmothers' handwriting and splattered food stains portray the love and joy they poured into the recipes.  Mingled among the recipes are pictures of many of our family members enjoying meals or cooking together. My Uncle with his long 60s hair, turning the ice cream maker; my grandmother cooking on a campfire many years ago; and many of my brother, sister, and me-making cut-out cookies, decorating gingerbread houses, wrapped in aprons, and covered in flour.  For some reason, when I rely on that cookbook, I never feel alone in the kitchen.

At my wedding shower my sister presented me with a cookbook full of recipes from all of the shower guests. She even made personalized recipe cards for the occasion. The book is beautiful and I treasure the recipes and the memories of that day. 


One of my favorite activities is to read through my cookbook collection, especially the cookbooks that were made for me. However, I don't think I've even tried to make half of the family recipes. Well it is time to change that! I'll share my successes and since I'm no Martha-disasters right here. 


Tuesday, January 6, 2009


I take absolutely no credit for this idea-I'm pretty sure Nate Berkus suggested framing children's artwork in his beautiful book, Home Rules.  When my little niece mailed (isn't there something so special about receiving snail mail?) my husband and me her latest works of art, I knew just how they should be displayed. I hung these frames in our kitchen, right above our coffee maker. The tiny hands and blooming creativity make me smile every morning. 

Monday, January 5, 2009

One more time!

Well, apparently my blog didn't take flight like I had really never got off the runway. Soon after my first post, my husband accepted a job offer out-of-state and my blog dreams were put on the back burner and replaced with packing boxes, a new apartment, new job, and new friends. Now, months later, I am beginning to feel settled in and I've been thinking about my blog more and more.  I'm not putting too much pressure on myself, just gentle reminders about how much I want this.

Little darlin--its been a long cold lonely winter

The local news just announced a winter storm advisory, my closet is packed with new, unworn (on sale!) winter clothes, and for some reason all I can think about is summer. When I spotted this lovely, whimsical, and totally inappropriate for the current season dress, I couldn't help but sigh. I think this dress would be perfect for an evening at an outdoor concert or a picnic with friends. Is it too early to start counting down the days until my long lost friend, the Sun, returns?

click for zoom

Then I found this stunning dress and I knew I was in serious trouble! I really need to focus my mind on wool, scarves, and tights. Maybe I'll just pray for a snow day so I can spend all day watching the snow flakes and surfing the web for summer dream clothes.