Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Crafty McCraftersons

So the last few days I have been frantically sewing in order to finish these stockings on time to get them shipped to Michigan. I'm really not sure why I do this to myself, other than that I love hand-crafted things.

I made stockings for my husband's nieces and nephews. It took me about a month to finish Cecelia's (so. many. sequins!) and then last weekend I realized it was 2 weeks until Christmas and I had 3 more to do. So I started sewing fast. I did some of the larger chunks on the machine, but the smaller pieces (i.e. most of the stockings) had to be done by hand and by an act of God, I got them done and shipped off today.

My paternal grandmother made me an incredibly intricate stocking made out of felt and gobs of sequins (see picture below), back when she was alive. I've had the stocking ever since and it's one of those few prized posessions that I have.

My stocking looked awfully lonely on the mantel, so I made one for Chris after we got married.

Then Bryan moved out here and he needed one too. I swear, I almost went blind making his--it's a lot of sequins.

Naturally I had to make some for the nieces and nephews. So without further ado, here they are:

Closeup of the little itty-bitty teeny-tiny mouse in the corner:

I'm really pleased with all of them, but I really love Elise's. There are a lot of details that don't show up in the photos: the tutu on the ballerina is actual tulle trim; all of the little presents have bows on them; the ballerina has little pink lips; and nutcracker on Evan's has some cool trim on the uniform.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Christmas Wish List

As promised to my mom, here is my Christmas wishlist for 2007. I have wishlists set up on Amazon and Anthropologie, which should now be accessible.

Clockwise from left to right: Bird of Paradise pajama pants, $48 from Anthropologie; Blue Peacock 5" Plate, $48 from John Derian; Birds and Nests Wall Calendar, $22 from Anthropologie; Gaiam Dryer Balls, $18 from Amazon; Method Home for the Holidays kit, $40 from Method; Natural Wonders wall calendar, $22 from Anthropologie; Shag floor cushions, $59 from West Elm
Lost Season 3, $38.99 from Amazon; Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, $22 from Amazon; The Deadliest Catch Season 2 and Season 3, $50 each from Discovery Store; Blue Planet, $28 from Amazon
Green Tilework Button Up, $68 from Anthropologie; Frilled Button Up, $78 from Anthropologie; Shoestring cardigan in red and black, $68 each from Anthropologie; Snapdragons skirt, $88 from Anthropologie; Button-Tab hoodie, $118 from Anthropologie

A Thousand Splendid Suns, $14.27 from Amazon; Schulz and Peanuts, $20.97 from Amazon; The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court, $16.77 from Amazon; Into The Wild, $8.37 from Amazon; Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, $16.17 from Amazon

Panasonic Lumix Digital Camera, $241 from Amazon

80G video iPod, $235 from Amazon

Friday, December 7, 2007

Tiny Gold Rings

In my search for pretty organic-looking gold jewelry, I came across a ton of teeny-tiny gold rings in the Sundance Catalog. I'm not too much a fan of the clothes in the catalog, but I like a lot of the jewelry.

First row (left to right): Spot of Sparkle ring, $180; Relic diamond ring, $890
Second row: Glowing Leaf ring, $990; Diamond Disk ring, $1,900; Applause ring, $1,100; Take Wing Double White Champagne ring, $750
Third row: Take Wing Champagne solitaire, $340; Diamond Ring quintet, $590; Diamond Clover ring, $420; Circle of Diamonds, $690

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

$aving Up

I think I'm in love.
I need this John Robshaw quilt in my life. I first saw it on the Design*Sponge sneak peak awhile back and I have not been able to get it out of my head, which is a really good indication for me that it's not going to be a foolish purchase. It'll mean I'll have to repaint our bedroom, but I'm fine with that because I'm getting tired of the blue. Anyway, here's the room with the red ikat quilt:

I normally don't like to copy people because I like some originality, but then again I rarely find a picture of a room that a) I want to duplicate and b) looks like something that Chris and I would actually have in our house.

Monday, December 3, 2007

All the Fun, None of the Calories!

How cool is this? You start with a basic virtual gingerbread house...

Then you add candy...

And once you're done, you can just make another (and another and another and another...)!

Try it here!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

What I Want Now

One of my favorite parts of Lucky magazine was where all the various editors show the stuff they want right now. Lucky is no longer nearly as cool as it used to be, but the part where each editor picks a trend and shows a bunch of different variations is still one of my favorite parts of the magazine, so I thought I'd make my own version here. Anyway, what I want right now is lacy, organic-looking, gold jewelry. I'd love to find some more affordable variations.

Clockwise from top left:
Yayoi Forest Lacy Hemisphere ring, $236 from
Catbird NYC
Yayoi Forest Lacy Triangle necklace, $130 from Catbird NYCErica Molinari branch bangle, $1,580 from Fragments
Celebes Ring, $198 from the Sundance catalog
Paper Fig Shell Necklace: $300 from Catbird NYC
Alex Woo Narissa cuff with diamonds, $7,878 from AlexWoo.com (yeah, not gonna happen)

Thanksgiving Breakfast

Because our kitchen is so small, I usually let Chris do his thang on Thanksgiving, since it actually does more harm than good when I get in there. But this year I did a bit of cooking just so he didn't have to do it all.

The brother-in-law announced that he'd bring a chocolate rum torte for dessert, but since Thanksgiving isn't Thanksgiving without a pumpkin I decided to make one. I stuck to the recipe on the back of the Libby's pumpkin and just added 2 and a half teaspoons of Trader Joe's ginger spread to liven it up a bit.

For appetizers, I made my favorite cream cheese stuffed dates topped with walnuts. I also topped some brie with the same TJ's ginger spread to smear on crackers (good and EASY).

For breakfast, I made maple cornbread topped with bacon and scallions. For extra flavor, we added a bit more maple syrup just to top it off. So. damn. good.

photo courtesy of Bryan, recipe courtesy of domino magazine

Maple Cornbread with Bacon and Scallions

2 tbsp. butter, plus 4 tbsp. melted
8 slices bacon, cut into ¼" pieces
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1½ cups whole milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ cup maple syrup
1½ cups stone-ground yellow cornmeal
½ cup all-purpose flour
1½ tsp. double-acting baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 425°. Grease a 10" cast-iron skillet (if it's new, season first according to the manufacturer's instructions) with 2 tablespoons butter. Heat a medium-size frying pan over medium heat, add the bacon and cook until it begins to get crispy, about 6 minutes. Add the scallions and continue to cook, stirring often, for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. In a large bowl, combine the milk, egg, maple syrup and 4 tablespoons melted butter. In a separate bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; stir with a fork. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, and stir gently to combine. It's okay if some lumps remain—do not overmix. Pour the batter into the buttered skillet, sprinkle the cooked bacon and scallions on top, and bake until set in the middle, about 25 minutes.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

I'm Pretty Sure This Will Cause Some Trouble for my Dad

We made more much-needed progress on the kitchen today: we needed to put in two more base cabinets to make some room in the living room before we host 8 people for Thanksgiving on Thursday. These two cabinets made us a bit nervous because it dealt with the sink, which means plumbing is involved! And, really, who doesn't love plumbing???

We started off the morning by installing the ribbed glass panels in the wall cabinet:

(The drywall has since been patched.) I'm pretty sure we had this done before 8 am, but who's keeping track?

Next we removed the countertop and took out the two base cabinets. Not too difficult. And installing the new base cabinets really wasn't all that bad either. We had everything installed and the plumbing reattached by 4 pm.

Here's the end result, which I'm pretty sure is going to mean a complete kitchen remodel for my parents in either of their two kitchens, since I'm pretty sure this is what my mom's wanted for the past 15 years at least.

We have two (count them, TWO!) drawers that fully pull out. Daddy, are you taking notes?

And...behold! A doo-hickey that holds the sponges!!!

That, my friends, is living.

Poised to Strike!

Tee hee! This cat reminds me of the Ol'.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Kitchen Remodel Update #1

Last weekend we broke ground on the kitchen remodel. We removed two base cabinets and replaced them with two glorious new base cabinets filled with drawers, drawers, and more drawers. We have acres of space now. Which is weird because we're not altering the footprint of the kitchen or really even changing the layout all that much.

We'll do two more base cabinets this weekend so we can make room in the living room for the 8 people who'll be at our house for Thanksgiving next week. Pressure? Nah!

Last night, Chris and I replaced our first wall cabinet. We totally thought we had it done on the first try only to remember that we hadn't left room for the piece of moulding that goes around the top. So we took the cabinet down and tried again. We thought we had it fixed on the second try, only to find out that the door wouldn't open because we had butted the cabinet right up to the wall next to it. So we had to take it down again. The third time was a charm.

Anywho...here are some pics. We installed some drawer pulls tonight, which was more difficult than we expected (expect to hear that phrase repeatedly over the next few weeks). And because it's officially Beaujolais Day, we celebrated:

New cabinets. The glass isn't installed yet, but LOOK!!! New hardware!!!

Drawer pulls and wine

Friday, November 9, 2007

Kitchen Inspiration

Here's the design board I created for our kitchen. The kitchen cabinets are white and will have ribbed glass inserts on the top cabinets. We're going to paint the walls the sage-y green below. And we already have the red KitchenAid mixer and steak knives (love!), which I think will complement the green nicely. I'm going to make some curtains for the windows in the Amy Butler fabrics. And finally, we'll be getting dark grey Corian countertops and we're still trying to figure out the backsplash. Huzzah. I'll post tons of before and after pics, so don't you worry.

Thursday, November 8, 2007


Well, as you can see from Chris's blog, the new kitchen cabinets took over our house yesterday. I'm already feeling a little overwhelmed, so why not just really push myself over the edge and make a list of everything I'd like to do in our house?

  1. Kitchen Remodel
  2. Install crown moulding in hallway, guest rooms
  3. Patch kitchen ceiling and re-paint (done)
  4. Patch living room ceiling and re-repaint
  5. Paint kitchen green
  6. Install moulding in breakfast nook
  7. Replace screen doors
  8. Repaint front door
  9. New carpet in bedrooms
  10. New Pergo in hallway
  11. Stain front and back decks
  12. Add window to master bedroom
  13. Sitting area for master bedroom (under new window)
  14. New closet system in master bedroom
  15. New desk in office
  16. Buy computer desk for guest bedroom
  17. Buy flat screen monitor for computer desk in guest bedroom
  18. New entertainment center
  19. New tv some day
  20. Recover living room chair

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Thank You For Your Patients

This post has nothing to do with anything (as opposed to every other post on this blog, which is oh-so-relevant), but this picture makes me laugh.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Hayden-Harnett Bags

So, I bought a Hayden-Harnett bag on sale this summer and I love it. The leather is beautiful, the hardware is really nice, and the overall quality is really great. I like the colors and the shapes and the fact that I don't see them all over the place. Here are my favorites. Too bad my current wishlist of these bags would set me back $2,638. Damn. Well, I can only hope they have another massive sale this winter.
Marlowe Mirror Bag in Ruby, $379
Mercer Triple Compartment Satchel in Iznik Yellow, $448
Havanna Hobo in Eggplant, $428
Mercer Clutch in Blush, $253
Sonia Tote in Grey, $540 (looks like the Ruby color that I'm obsessed with is sold out)
Pallenberg Duffel in Saffron, $580

Monday, October 29, 2007

Excuse me while I drool over some more Anthro stuff

Anthropologie is plotting to bankrupt me. I always love the outfits that they put together. And their "Mix and Match" section of the website is pretty genius at making me want to spend a LOT of money there. Damn them!

I love the monochromatic look of this outfit. I think I'll need to play around in my closet and make a similar outfit with what I've got. We'll see if I can do it. I also love the necklace:
But I'm pretty sure that I can make a similar necklace myself for a fraction of the $298 price tag that Anthro is asking.
And I just really love this last outfit. I'm 99% sure it would make me look pregnant, but it's pretty anyway.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

It looked a lot better before I started eating it...

Scallop and Corn Chowder
from Real Simple magazine

5 slices bacon (4 ounces), cut into a small dice
1 1/2 pounds sea scallops (about 16), patted dry
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced into half-moons
1/2 pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled (if desired) and cut into a 1/2-inch dice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
Kernels from 2 ears of corn (about 1 cup) or use 1 can of corn
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
In a large skillet, over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Pour out most of the bacon drippings, but leave a little bit to cook the onions and garlic. Add the onion to the drippings in the skillet and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the corn, potatoes, wine, broth, and cream, cover partially, and reduce heat. Simmer gently until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Add the scallops simmer gently until they are no longer translucent. Sprinkle with the parsley and bacon.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Bedding of my dreams

Again with the birds...

I can't decide which I like better (not that it really matters because the kitchen remodel is the priority at the moment). Sigh.

I've never ordered from Dwell before, so I have no idea what the quality is like, but their stuff is awfully beautiful.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

High Hampton Inn

I just got back from the High Hampton Inn in Cashiers, NC and it was beautiful. $135 per night for per person includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the main dining room. The whole place feels like summer camp for grown-ups: tea is served at noon, a coat and tie are required for men in the dining room, and women are asked to dress accordingly. The food was all very good, including the banana pudding.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Lotta Jansdotter Apron

I really like Lotta Jansdotter's stuff. I wish everything in my house was all nice and pretty, even the small details like sticky notes, but I suppose I'd drive myself (and the hubby) crazy and make myself go broke if I was really that obsessive.

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